Community spirit shines through as smaller retail centres gear up for Christmas

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Traders in smaller retail centres across Northumberland have been working hard to put on a festive offer.

Towns such as Amble, Rothbury, Warkworth, Wooler, Belford and Seahouses have a number of independent shops in which to search for that unique gift, either online or in person once lockdown is lifted.

Beccy Smart, owner of Forever Beautiful in Wooler, said: “Many businesses have had to adapt massively to the way they operate and although it’s been a rubbish year it’s been amazing to see the entrepreneurs shine. Retailers have worked hard to either introduce or improve their e-commerce to adapt to the current times.

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“Wooler businesses have really come together as one and helped support one another on what has been one of the toughest years.

Beccy Smart, owner of Forever Beautiful in Wooler.Beccy Smart, owner of Forever Beautiful in Wooler.
Beccy Smart, owner of Forever Beautiful in Wooler.

“Many of us have adapted our business by offering a click and collect service for our community to do their Christmas shopping with the lockdown now in place. Some are even offering delivery for anyone who is shielding or doesn’t feel comfortable with leaving their home.”

She added: “I know I speak on behalf of all the business owners of Wooler when I say we have felt so much support from our community this year and even more so with the run up to Christmas!

"We can’t thank them enough and it really shows in tough times how great our community is.”

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Wooler’s Christmas shopping day has been rearranged for Sunday, December 6 from 10am to 5pm to tie in with the monthly farmers’ market.

A recent Big Conversation survey run across all JPIMedia titles found that footfall has dropped in Northumberland town centres and shopping habits have changed as a result of the pandemic.

However, 53.7% said they were supporting local businesses more since the pandemic began and 73.4% agreed with the statement: "The Christmas period will be a good opportunity to support local businesses."

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